(ANOTHER) EXCLUSIVE by Scottish Energy News
There have been new calls from Scottish renewable energy chiefs for the Scot-Govt to come up with a sustainable solution to its business-rates boorach*.
As exclusively revealed in Scottish Energy News last week, Scottish Finance Minister Derek Mackay announced a major political climbdown with a temporary 60% cut in business rates on small hydro power generators following a storm of protest and howls of economic outrage from the industry.
This was welcomed by Alba Energy – the consortium of independent Scottish hydro power operators – and the British Hydro Association, as well as Galbraiths, the prominent firm of land agents.
Now the head of renewables at Savills, another firm of land agents, has joined in the call for both a permanent fix to the business rates dogs-dinner, and for it to be extended to include other renewable energies – such as heat-pump schemes.
Glasgow-based Star Renewable Energy believe they are on the cusp of proving the low carbon heating solutions they have successfully – and commercially – deployed overseas could drastically reduce the UK’s fossil fuel consumption, but the current ‘business rates policy is acting as a roadblock for commercial investors.’
Thomas McMillan, Director of Renewables for Savills, said: “The solution to the rates conundrum for renewable heat projects is both simple and already defined.
“The Scottish – and UK – governments must carry forward the principle of “productive investment”, already utilised for high speed fibre amongst other investments, and apply this to the deployment of plant and machinery for low carbon heating and other integrated renewable energy technologies.
“To offer short term or capped exemptions is merely a sticking plaster, that does not remove risk to investors in new projects and undermines wider government policy in these crucial areas.
“Current business rates policy is resulting in projected business rates on some projects exceeding the income/savings secured from investing in the technology.
“This will result in almost zero deployment of commercial heat pumps or rooftop solar in the coming years unless productive investment classifications are applied to these technologies.
“Under devolved powers the Scottish Government has the authority to makes changes to business rates that will boost deployment of low carbon technologies, increase jobs and boost revenues to the Scottish economy through productive investment.”
- BOORACH http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=boorach Unlike the ‘Scottish’ parliament, Scottish Energy News recognises all three of Scotland’s languages – Scots, English and Gaelic
- The British Hydro Association is holding its UK annual industry conference in Glasgow on 8-9 November 2017. For more information: http://tinyurl.com/y898hxdo